Hello sisters,

2021 was a year of change and growth for Omega Phi Alpha. In the midst of the global pandemic, the operational leadership team truly learned to embrace change and seize opportunities to improve the sorority. As Managing Director, I feel that we really are on the cusp of something truly incredible with Omega Phi Alpha and I feel very grateful to be leading us into the future. As we close out one year and enter another, I’m excited to share all that we accomplished in 2021 and share what’s on the horizon for 2022. 

New Resources

Many members of the OLT have worked tirelessly to update existing resources and to create additional resources that have long been requested by our chapters. We focused on listening to chapters as they provided their feedback and instead of determining what we think the chapters need, provide what the chapters are telling us that they need. 

Some of the new resources made available for chapter this year were:

  • Updated Chapter Officer Manuals (Membership Director and Treasurer) 
  • Updated New Member Manual
  • Updated Fundraising Manual 
  • Standardized and Asynchronous OPA 101 Modules
  • Asynchronous Leadership Development Program
  • Updated Disassociation Forms on Docusign 
  • District Summit Planning Guide
  • New Dues Waiver Process
  • Small Chapter Survival Guide
  • National Service Week Guide

Some of the updated resources for all members:

  • Standard Operating Procedure Updates
  • Policy Reviews and Changes
  • New Accessibility and Accommodations Policy

Our Service Impact

Our collegiate chapters reported a total of 18,272 service hours in the Fall 2021 semester. The highest number of service hours were in the community at large area of service. At a living wage rate of $15 per hour, this equates to $274,080 of work. 

For the first time in five years, we celebrated National Service Week by focusing on our new national partnership with RAINN (Rape, Incest, and Abuse National Network). RAINN Development Director, Julia George, joined us to kick off NSW with a webinar all about RAINN. If you missed it, you can watch it here.  We hosted a fundraising event for RAINN during the week and successfully raised over $600.  

We restructured the Cardinal Principles team to include a Chapter Service Program Coordinator who advised chapter Service Directors on logging hours in OPAportal and brainstorming new ideas for service projects at the chapter. The coordinator also provided end of semester feedback to chapter leaders to ensure that all members understand the intent of each area of service and plan impactful projects in 2022. 

In addition to chapter service, we launched a national service project in October that will extend through the end of February. We encourage all collegiate chapters to participate in this project and engage their alumni to join them! 

Membership Growth

It is no secret that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic seriously impacted our membership numbers and ability to grow our membership in 2020 and the first part of 2021. Our chapters worked so hard to transition recruitment and operations to virtual or hybrid based on the requirements of their university and many of them were successful in doing so. However, despite our efforts to keep our operations going and create meaningful service opportunities in a new way, many of our members experienced hardships and had to drop from the organization. 

We were very hopeful going into Fall 2021 that we would be able to reach pre-pandemic membership numbers since vaccines were widely available and universities were going back to somewhat normal in-person operations. 

I am so happy to share that we had our largest recruitment since Fall 2018! Our chapters extended 409 bids to potential new members and 355 of those were officially activated as members of Omega Phi Alpha. That number meets our pre-pandemic recruitment number and we hope to increase the percentage of PNMs that are activated this semester. 

Expanding Our Reach

“Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision, and change.” – Richard Branson

The quote above really resonates when thinking of the expansions process in 2021. COVID certainly made us all think differently and expanding Omega Phi Alpha was definitely challenged by the various environments on campuses across the country. In the last two years, we lost some interest groups, took time to grow existing interest groups, and worked to form new ones. With the goal of ramping up expansions, it was a year of experimentation for the national expansions team; some experiments were successful and some were not. The most successful experiment was utilizing the power of social media and paid social media advertising to spread the word about Omega Phi Alpha and find interested students at campuses we thought to be viable. We are moving this effort forward this year due to the great success we had! 

Our current expansions interest is as follows:

  • Auburn University (Omicron Chapter) – 32 students 
  • Binghamton University – 43 students
  • SUNY Albany – 11 students
  • Bentley University – 20 students

In addition to social media efforts, the expansions team has been hosting open interest meetings for any interested student at any university to attend to learn more about Omega Phi Alpha and the expansions process. The team hosted 9 interest meetings in 2021 and had a total of 45 people attend. There are 6 interest meetings scheduled so far in 2022 with more than 35 interested students from the University of Tennessee and 5 from Marshall University. There are dozens more students signed up from various universities in addition to the ones listed above. 

The expansions team also introduced some new resources including an Expansion Guide that is now available on the national website. This guide is intended to explain the expansions process to any prospective new members and breaks the process down into phases with deliverables so that it is simple and easy to understand what it takes to become a prospective new chapter. 

Streamlining Communications

The beginning of 2021 saw the launch of our new website which has been a fantastic platform for us to share valuable content in the form of blogs and articles with our members. Since the blog’s new launch, we’ve spotlighted various leadership teams and members of our sorority and shared articles on important topics or contributed content from our members. As always, we like to encourage ALL members to contribute stories and spotlights to our team. There is nothing better than reading about all the amazing things our sisters are doing across the world.

In Fall 2021, the Communications Team invested in a new social media management platform called Sprout Social to streamline and optimize not only our social media content, but also reporting around social media engagement. This tool also integrates with Canva, our main graphic design tool, making it super easy for the team to create and attach amazing imagery and videos to our social posts. Another great perk of the Sprout Social experience is the ability to schedule posts at the best times, ensuring our members are more likely to see our posts and not miss them.

Many members of our Operational Leadership Team now have the ability to send messages to our members directly through OPAportal. We are able to identify better audience segments through OPAportal and send messages to the appropriate audience and minimize the number of unnecessary emails that our members receive.

Member Experience & Engagement

In October 2021, we launched a Member Engagement Survey with the purpose of better understanding how both collegiate and alumni currently interact with the national organization and want to interact with the national organization going forward. We received an amazing response with over 1000 survey responses. We have been using the results of the survey to set goals for this year and look forward to implementing some of the suggestions. 

Beyond the member engagement survey, we decided to start measuring member satisfaction with the organization every six months. The first pulse survey went out in December 2021 and resulted in a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 39, which is considered “great” on the NPS scale. This pulse survey will be distributed every 6 months (in June and December) and will help the Operational Leadership Team understand our members’ satisfaction with their membership in OPhiA.

Additionally, we hosted 14 virtual events open to all members to attend. These events included The Book Buzz, Craft Chats, Yoga, HIIT, and Movie Nights. 

Looking Forward

In review of each chapter’s Midyear Report and in conversation with members of the Operational Leadership Team, we see so many opportunities to continue to grow and streamline the organization. We anticipate many additional resources to come in 2022 including: 

  • Chapter Finance Guidelines and Templates
  • Graduating Senior Workshop
  • Chapter Officer Leadership Academy
  • Alumni Chapter Expansion Guide
  • Updated Alumni Chapter Requirements
  • Leadership Development Program Modules for Alumni

Beyond resources, the national team has many plans for hosting engagement events for alumni and collegiate members. We often hear from our members that they want to network more with fellow members and we will bring you many opportunities to do that in 2022. The best way to find out about upcoming events is to check the national website events page or our Facebook page. 

In our membership engagement survey, we found that our members really enjoy member spotlights and want us to bring them back. We have started a list of members that we will be reaching out to interview and spotlight in an upcoming blog series. We encourage you to consider submitting a member that you think has a story that others would love to hear! 

As our expansions success continues, we plan to announce at least two new prospective new chapters early this year and have at least one more interest group before the end of the Spring semester. We expect to induct at least 3 new chapters of Omega Phi Alpha by the end of 2022. Stay tuned for more details about welcoming new chapters of Omega Phi Alpha this year. 

We are also so excited to continue planning for Convention 2022 in Fort Worth, TX! This convention is set to be one of the best ones yet with many workshops covering leadership skills development, career advice, and diversity and inclusion. Many of the workshops will be led by your fellow sisters who are excited to share their skills and experiences with the sorority. Registration is slated to open on March 1, 2022 with an early bird discount of $175. More information is forthcoming!  

I’m so proud of Omega Phi Alpha and the way we have all adapted to the changing circumstances in the world. It has been such a pleasure to see how collegiate chapters have persevered through this time and overcome so many obstacles. We’ve even had a new provisional alumni chapter work to build membership through virtual activities and projects. It’s a true testament to how our members are dedicated to serving others! Beyond our chapters, the members of the national team have worked tirelessly to ensure we are improving Omega Phi Alpha. They’ve drafted communications, streamlined processes, created new strategies for achieving goals, brainstormed new programming, hosted events, and created amazing new resources. A lot has changed since our leaders were elected or appointed in early 2020 and even the members who needed to step down due to changes in their lives contributed so much to the sorority during their time as a leader. If you are interested in contributing to the sorority in this way, I encourage you to reach out and apply for volunteer opportunities. 

In my mind, the theme for 2022 in Omega Phi Alpha is: here we GROW! 

In sisterhood and service,